The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 92

June 20, 2022 11:15 am

LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals aims to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 91 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF looked at the identification of people at risk of fire for the fire risk assessment. In part 92, we discuss the classifications of dependency of patients in healthcare buildings.

Patients and other occupants of a healthcare building will require classification for the purposes of the fire risk assessment. The classifications are as follows:

  • Independent (may include patients)
  • Dependent (only patients)
  • Very high dependency (only patients)

Which classification is the most appropriate for an individual will be based on factors such as their anticipated mobility and/or dependence. The purpose of the classification is to ascertain the anticipated dependence of building occupants either during an evacuation or as a consequence of the treatment they are receiving.

Independent categorisation may include patients whose mobility is not affected in any way either by their treatment or any other factor. If a patient is able to leave the premises without staff assistance or if they are able to leave with only minimal assistance from another person, they may be classed as independent. Their abilities should include being able to negotiate stairs and to understand the emergency signage within the building.

A dependent patient is one who is neither classed as independent or very high dependency.

Very high dependency patients are those whose clinical treatment and/or condition means they rely on staff for their care at all times. Examples might be patients in critical care areas, operating theatres and those for whom evacuation might prove life-threatening.

Assessment areas will contain a mix of people with different dependencies and this should be taken into account in the fire risk assessment. Some may require assistance, some may be able to evacuate without assistance.

A fire risk assessment will look to cater for the clinical dependency and care needs of the majority but it must also consider the needs of any individuals who may be at risk.

In Part 93 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will look at how the Chief Executive should approach evaluating, removing, reducing and protecting from risk. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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